Monday morning news — August 17, 2020

House Democrats demand USPS leaders explain budget cuts » House Democrats are demanding that leaders of the U.S. Postal Service testify at an emergency hearing one week from today. That as Democrats accuse the White House of trying to undermine the agency and limit mail-in voting.

Michigan Congresswoman Debbie Dingell…

DINGELL: We have been hearing from postal workers that they’ve been told that they can no longer work overtime. We are witnessing post office boxes being picked up. We’re being told of equipment being removed, and what we want to ensure is that the post office is working as we know it now during COVID. 

The House Oversight Committee wants to hear from new Postmaster General Louis DeJoy and from the chair of the Postal Service board of governors. 

DeJoy is a major Republican donor and ally of the president who took control of the agency in June. He has pledged to modernize the money-losing agency. And President Trump said that’s exactly what he’s doing. 

TRUMP: The steps that he’s taken are trying to stop the tremendous losses that have taken place for many, many years. He’s trying to streamline the post office and make it great again. 

The postal service is now requesting a temporary pre-election rate increase, from mid-October through Christmas, though probably not for first-class letters.

On Friday the Postal Service warned states that it cannot guarantee all ballots cast by mail for the November election will arrive in time to be counted. 

Virtual Democratic National Convention begins » The Democratic National Convention kicks off today at the Wisconsin Center in Milwaukee—sort of

AUDIO: How are you going to be watching the Democratic Convention? I’m watching on Amazon Fire TV! I’m Watching on ROKU!

Due to the pandemic, there will be no live audience. And while the production will be based in Milwaukee, speakers will deliver speeches from home and delegates will send in their votes virtually. 

The convention will feature four nights of programming each evening from 9 to 11 p.m. Eastern Time. 

Tonight’s speakers include Senator Bernie Sanders, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and the former Republican Governor of Ohio, John Kasich, a vocal critic of President Trump. 

Former democratic presidents Bill Clinton and Barak Obama will speak later this week, and Joe Biden will deliver his nomination acceptance speech from his home in Delaware on Thursday.

UAE opens phone lines to Israel following diplomatic deal » Telephone calls began ringing Sunday between the United Arab Emirates and Israel. That marked the first concrete step of a diplomatic deal brokered by the Trump administration. The UAE has blocked direct telephone calls to and from Israel since its founding in 1971.

U.S. National security adviser Robert O’Brien called the new deal a “historic accomplishment” and he told NBC’s Meet the Press…

O’BRIEN: We think there’s some momentum for some additional parties to join and to normalize relations with Israel. 

Israel and the UAE announced Thursday that they were establishing full diplomatic relations. The deal requires Israel to halt its plan to annex the occupied West Bank, which is land sought by the Palestinians. 

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has insisted the annexation plans are only on “temporary hold” at the request of the United States.

NETANYAHU: President Trump’s peace plan is the only realistic proposal that has been put forward for many, many decades. But the Palestinians aren’t coming around. So I think it’s actually not that if we have a breakthrough with the Palestinians, we’ll break open to the Arab world. I think maybe the other way around. We have a breakthrough with Arab states and the Palestinians will come around. 

The agreement makes the Emirates only the third Arab nation to currently recognize Israel. 

Robert Trump dies at 71 » Robert Trump, the youngest of the president’s four siblings, died Saturday at age 71. President Trump described his younger brother as kind and agreeable and called him “my best friend.”

TRUMP: We’ve had a great relationship for a long time, from day one. 

Robert Trump began his career on Wall Street but later joined the family business, managing real estate holdings in the Trump Organization. He was a strong supporter of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign in 2016. 

Texas judge intervenes in dispute over child’s gender » A Texas judge has intervened again in a couple’s dispute over their child’s gender. WORLD’s Katie Gaultney has the story. 

KATIE GAULTNEY, REPORTER: Dallas judge Mary Brown last week overturned a ruling that granted James’ divorced parents equal decision-making authority for James and his twin brother Jude.

That after more than a year of back-and-forth between parents Anne Georgulas and Jeff Younger. 

Georgulas says James has told her since age 3 he wants to be a girl. She has affirmed him in that, dressing him as a girl and enrolling him in school as “Luna.” In 2019, she sought an injunction that would have required James’ father to treat him as a female. 

Now, Brown’s reversal gives James’ mother full power over his medical and psychological treatment.

An update on the Save James Facebook page says last Tuesday’s ruling was handed down without a hearing, and that a “special evidentiary hearing” will take place in September.

Reporting for WORLD, I’m Katie Gaultney.

Women accuse House candidate of inappropriate behavior » A rising Republican star is coming under scrutiny after a WORLD investigation revealed accusations of sexual misconduct. 

Madison Cawthorn—who just turned 25 this month—is set to become the youngest member of Congress in history after winning a surprise primary victory in June. He’s seeking to replace former North Carolina Congressman Mark Meadows, who is now White House chief of staff. 

Cawthorn campaigns on a conservative platform of “faith, family, and freedom,” but several women say his past behavior doesn’t line up with the Christian values he now espouses. 

Two women say he forcibly kissed them and one woman said he grabbed her upper thigh. WORLD has corroborated each woman’s account with at least one other person.

Cawthorn’s campaign responded to one of the allegations, saying he had previously reached out to the woman and—quote—“apologized if his attempt to kiss her when he was a teenager made her feel uncomfortable or unsafe.” 

The Cawthorn campaign has not accepted multiple WORLD interview requests.

(AP Photo/Diane Bonadreff, File) In this Nov. 3, 1999, file photo, Robert Trump, left, joins then real estate developer and presidential hopeful Donald Trump at an event in New York. 

WORLD Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of WORLD Radio programming is the audio record.

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